The More Complex a Process, the Greater the Need for (relevant) Graphical Displays

The email arrives on schedule with its huge Excel attached. You open it to see the latest numbers. The file containing multiple worksheets and thousands of rows of data, you close it and think "I hope the numbers are better next week/month." 

This is a regular experience of managers, supervisors and engineers around the world. 

Large amounts of waste are occurring:  

  • Everyone sorts out what's important to them (if they take the time) and some folks are better at sorting than others
  • Trends are difficult to see, it's just numbers. Are there any patterns? A few gifted folks can discern them, but no one else
  • Multiple people are spending time manipulating the file, when it could have been done by a single person 
  • The critical human capital that's managing the operation is being wasted because the information (in the data) is buried

Consider this, what if you looked at the recipients of information like this as customers? Would you spend more time making sure its relevant to them? These are the vital people making the organization run and they should be treated as such. 

This is an opportunity to determine what's really important in the data and to present it graphically. With a good graphic everyone understands at a glance what categories of performance are doing well and which aren't. They'll know if a poor number in one area is a one-off event or is part of an on-going adverse trend.  

If your process has multiple categories of performance and a lot of data, take time to plan a visual display. Get input from the team. Automate, as much as possible, so very little team member time is spent updating it. The time spent here, promoting team understanding of the data, will pay for itself many times over in improved results.